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Rachel’s Challenge is for all of us

Posted: September 25, 2012 9:20 a.m.
Updated: September 26, 2012 5:00 a.m.

When I first heard about Rachel’s Challenge coming to Lugoff-Elgin Middle School I wasn’t sure what to expect. Well, then again, I expected a run-of-the-mill "be kind to others" presentation. I wondered what relevance a school tragedy that occurred 13 years ago could have today.

Then I talked with Rachel’s older sister, Dana Scott who works with Rachel’s Challenge.

She excitedly recalled her sister’s life and heart with a passion that I was not expecting to hear. After all, how many times has she recounted the story of her sister’s life?

That was my first clue that Rachel’s Challenge was special and that Rachel was no ordinary girl.

I was 8 when the Columbine shootings took place so I don’t remember much, except for news scenes of students running out of the high school that had become a playground for terror.

As I watched the presentation I was again taken aback by the horror of what took place.

The pure evil of the shootings would leave anyone wondering how could any good come from that awful day in 1999?

That’s where Rachel Scott’s legacy shines as light through oppressive darkness.

Rachel was an extraordinary young woman. Though she only lived for 17 years she’s left an deep impact that continues to echo a simple yet profound message to anyone who will listen -- be kind to others.

And being kind is what she’s remembered for.

During the presentation I got to hear three people who had been touched by her kindness and it blew me away.

As Rachel’s powerful legacy showed, we have the ability to change someone’s life through kindness.

Though the organization is non-religious I couldn’t help but see God’s fingerprints over her life and in the ripple effect that it’s having. It served as a gentle reminder that good is stronger than evil.

I hope that the students who saw that presentation really take it to heart.

I hope that this community takes the message of Rachel’s Challenge to heart.

Here are a few words from one of Rachel’s essays that really stood out to me.

"Imagine you have just met someone...you reach judgement based on these three encounters. Let me ask you something ... did you ever ask them what their goal in life is ... did they experience love? ... You have to look for their beauty, their good ... Look hard enough and you will always find a light, and you can even help it grow."

Challenging words from a amazing girl.

I agree with a student who talked with me after the event ... if we heeded Rachel’s words, the world would be a better place.

(Tenell Felder is the localife editor of the Chronicle-Independent. Email responses can be sent to tfelder@chronicle-independent.com)

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